UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — “The Turkish actions escalate the tension in the Mediterranean region,” said Aqila Saleh Issa, head of the Cypriot parliament, in a joint statement issued on Saturday in Nicosia, referring to the two controversial agreements signed by Ankara with the Libyan National Accord government.
Saleh visited the Mediterranean island “in response to an official invitation he received from his” Cypriot counterpart in an attempt to find “ways to nullify” two agreements, one of them military and the other that demarcates the maritime border between Turkey and Libya that were signed in late November.
The elected Libyan parliament, which is based in the east of the country, does not recognize the legitimacy of the National Accord government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, based in Tripoli, and supports a competing government in the east and the “Libyan National Army” led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter. About forty MPs loyal to the Al-Wefaq government moved to Tripoli, elected their president and held periodic meetings in the capital.
Haftar launched a large-scale offensive in April to take control of Tripoli, and battles are currently concentrated between his forces and those loyal to the Al-Wefaq government on the southern outskirts of the capital.
After their meeting in Nicosia, Saleh Issa and Siloris described in a joint statement the agreement on maritime borders signed by Turkey with the government of national reconciliation as “a violation of international law and has no legal basis because it ignores the provisions of international law of the sea.”
The officials considered that “Turkey’s actions escalate tension (and destabilize) the Mediterranean region.”
The maritime agreement allows Ankara to claim sovereignty over large areas rich in hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean, which angered Greece, Egypt, Cyprus and Israel.
The second agreement revolves around military cooperation and provides for assistance that Turkey can provide to the government of national reconciliation in fighting the forces of Field Marshal Hifter, backed by Egypt, the Emirates, and Russia.
On Thursday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the way for direct Turkish military intervention in Libya by announcing a vote soon in parliament to send soldiers to support the reconciliation government.
A spokesman for him announced on Friday that the recognized government of Al-Wefaq had requested military assistance from Ankara.
The media adviser to the Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, Hamid Al-Safi, said in a statement on Saturday that the Libyan Speaker of Parliament “demanded the Cypriot parliament to withdraw recognition of the Al-Wefaq government for its loss of legitimacy,” considering that it “wants to sell Libya to the foreigner.”
Cyprus, a member of the European Union, has no diplomatic relationship with Turkey, which occupies the northern part of the divided island.
Likewise, Nicosia and Ankara are currently in deep disagreement over the issue of oil resources off the coast of the island. Cyprus announced earlier this month that it had submitted its dispute with Turkey to the International Court of Justice.
An agreement on the Eastmead gas pipeline project between Greece, Cyprus and Israel will be signed on January 2 in Athens.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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